View: Dan James can prepare for Leeds run-in with biggest game of his career for Wales
Leeds have got a huge final eight games in the Premier League this season coming up over the next few months, and they need everyone firing at their best.
While Jesse Marsch has to deal with several injury issues and players coming back like Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper, it’s the rest of the squad that need to find their rhythm and keep it over this short break.
That includes the club’s all-time most expensive footballer, Daniel James, who is preparing to take to the field for Wales in the biggest game of his career to date on Thursday night.
Wales will take on Austria in their World Cup 2022 playoff semi-final tonight, with a win seeing them face off against the winner of Scotland v Ukraine whenever that eventually gets played.
If they lose, they will once again fail to qualify for the biggest tournament in world football and national legends Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale will likely retire having never got the chance to represent their country on the grandest stage.
Outside of those two legendary figures though, it’s James who is seen as one of the key men for Rob Page and the fans who will be singing their hearts out in Cardiff.
He has top level experience having played for Manchester United in the Champions League and as an attacker, his pace is a huge outlet for the team in tough moments.
But since moving to Elland Road in the summer we’ve not seen the best of the 24-year-old winger and Wales need far more than that for them to be successful tonight.
Putting on our Whites hat though, Leeds could do with a flying performance from the man who they spent the best part of £25m on to make Marcelo Bielsa a happy man.
Considering his price tag and how keen the manager was to bring him, his time at the club has been nothing short of a disappointment for fans and staff.
James has four goals and three assists this season in 26 appearances in the Premier League. To put into context how not good that is, he’s managed six yellow cards in that time.
Granted Leeds have been poor in front of goal and only Raphinha, Jack Harrison and Rodrigo have found the net more often, but it’s simply not enough.
The chances he gets to score or create something are far too often not taken advantage of and then the team find themselves losing by the odd goal, or only getting a point instead of three.
If James can find some rhythm for Wales in this hugely important game, then it would be only a positive for Leeds too. Each of their final eight games this season is as important to Whites fans as this one Wales game.
If James can deliver for his country, there is no reason he can’t for the club that pay his wages and maybe then he can fire them to safety to repay the faith they showed in him last summer.